Letters extra: performance-related pay

5th October 2001 at 01:00

I write to express my annoyance about performance related pay. This is of great concern to many of my colleagues who are in a similar position to me.

I am now in my fifth year of teaching and received no financial incentiveto join the profession. Indeed, I am still paying off the loan I took out at the time. I enjoy my work and consider myself successful. I was made deputy head of sixth form after two years andnbsp;am now head of sixth form in a large comprehensive in the West Midlands. I have inspired many students who are now training to be teachers and know I have made a positive contribution to many young people's lives.

I also work as a mentor with student teachers from Keele University. Every student I have mentored has got a job in teaching and I am proud of this. It has been frustrating to see the large incentives they get to join the profession while at the same time having to leave the room while older colleagues last year discussed how to apply for their extra pound;2000 for performance.

This scheme seems age-related rather than performance-related. When students jokingly inquired how I would spend my bonus, they were amazed that I wasn't old enough to get it (though at 30 I feel quite old). This year the gap will increase even more and hearing colleagues describing how "it doesn't half make a difference to your pay packet" will become even more annoying.

At a time when all of the evidence points to the need to retain teachers who have been in the profession three, four or five years who are leaving in droves, here is a solution that would help considerably. Make "performance-related pay" live up to it's name and if people like me satisfy the criteria then back date it also.

This would be an effective retention device and also a truly meritocratic one. It would go some way to removing the resentment many of us feel. Here is an opportunity to get some of the most motivated members of the profession truly "on board".

Jon Harris
Great Barr,
Birmingham

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